Throughout the history of literature there has always been a staple or series that would define the genre of that era for years to come. Lord of The Rings, Sherlock Homes, Various Stephen King Novels, and a host of Tom Clancy novels all fit the bill of series or writings that define their time. Unless you’ve lived under a literary rock you’ve experienced the phenomenon that is Harry Potter. From the books, to the films, HP has stretched its magical reach across the world and wowed us all with stories of heroism, bravery, love, and friendship. But everything must come to an end, as did the HP series after releasing its final book in 2007, and film in 2011…
…………until this year.
If you’re a potter fan like me, you’ve probably read the series a couple of times, seen the movies more than that, and read every bit of information J.K Rowling gave us ravenous folk just to sate our appetite. A lot of us grew up with this series and to say that its apart of us is an understatement. We wanted to go to Hogwarts, or Durmstrang or whatever American wizarding schools we could imagine. We wanted to learn, explore, fight. We wanted to be magical. That feeling this year was reignited with the announcement of a Potter story/stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the release of anticipation for the long-awaited film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them. Once again we were on our way back to our favorite world.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was our first taste back to the world we loved. Although its originally a live stageplay, the script was printed into book form and released as is to our excitement, seeing as the play only ran at the Palace Theatre in London. While pretty short (Which is understandable seeing as it was a stageplay) the two-part book was a pretty solid story that takes place in the future and primarily follows 1 of Harry Potters children, Albus Potter. The story harps on a strained relationship between father and son for one circumstance or another and is a pretty good reintroduction to the wizarding world and its current problems. To see our favorite characters as adults was fasho fulfilling and while you’re essentially reading a script, the cues printed inside of the print really gives you a sound visual of what would be going on in the play! Overall, it was nice little “welcome back” into the world with an even nicer, unique, conflict and ending that was well done.
Next up into our foray back into magic was the tale of a character mentioned more than a few times in the series, Newt Scamander. The Film Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them was recently released to ravenous positive fan and critic reviews. Personally, I think the film was an excellent telling of a world intertwined by magic but still deeply embedded in American 1920 society. It’s a completely different world than its London counterpart with the film primarily focusing on magical events happening in a non-magical 1920’s New York. The casting of Eddie Redmayne as the Hufflepuff hero Newt can only be described as natural. He’s a charming, kind hearted fellow that dispels the old hollywood tropes of manly man heroes who uses his emotional anger, raw power or inner conflict to overcome his obstacle. No, Redmayne excllently portrays Newt as a kindhearted being who seems to genuinely care about people and the wondrous beats in the film. The movie feels more adult in tone with much dreary images and lighting but still mesmerizes with a story that can be best described as a pro-animal rights film with the guise of a magical adventure. If you’re a major nerd like me, you notice some creatures that were once described in the book but each one looks amazing on-screen and really pushes the magical element of the film that would have been left out sans a couple of wizarding battles and random acts of magic.
Last, but certainly not least, this year the grand attraction The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened up its doors at the Universal Studio in Orlando for all the folks wanting to check out a fine good replication of some of our favorite spots of the wizarding world itself. Shops featured at the attraction vary from Ollivanders wand shop (where you can buy an actual wand!), Zonks, Honeyducks, The Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head Pub and much more! It opened on April 7, 2016 and while I’ve never been myself, I’ve heard fantastic things about the place, from the authenticity to the deliciousness of butterbeer. I’m going one day. You should go one day. We should go one day.
Overall man, it’s been a good year for us Potter fans, with our heads being filled with new stories and adventures of our favorite place. With all the crazy and wild shit going on in 2016, its nice to have something magical to ease ya mind.- Mars